Well with the car largely sorted for autotesting now was the time to put her back on the road.
than make it an open ended chapter, I decided to be cruel to be kind
and booked the car in for MOT, leaving myself about 3 or 4 weeks to get
her up to MOT standard.
First up was the
lights, Tony called round and had them sorted in a jiffy…just basically
bad earthing and a couple of loose wires. We then set about putting in
some dash lights, oil pressure, battery, handbrake, indicators with
buzzers, and these were all completed without fuss. He wired in the fog
light and that was all the lighting done, just put the locust next to
my car one evening and set the aim of the headlights to suit.
window wipers packed up at one of the first events, and I had a spare
mini setup which worked, this was stripped and partly rebuilt, but
encountered problems with it and time was not on my side. So I decided
to cheat and take the screen off!!!
were put on, and everything checked over that I could think of. The day
came and it was trailered to the test centre and unloaded. I so wanted
her to pass as Mark had got a kit and wanted to go out for jaunts with
The tester did the necessary and found one advisory…not bad but the best bit was it passed.
and taxed and we were in business, but I thought that autotesting would
have sorted all the niggles, however driving on the road brought out
main thing was the mountings for the cycle wings, when driving on the
roads….the wings were vibrating and then one would snap causing the
wing to flap about, this was a real pain when trying to go out with my
friend, and a vital repair toolkit was essential on every outing!!!
solution to this will be to fab up some new ones, and is a job
earmarked for the future as bits have been welded on and hope they
should last a bit longer now.
when autotesting was that for some reason it had a reason to eat fuel
pumps, maybe every 3 months or so, this was odd and we could not figure
it out, which also left a little thought to the back of your mind was
it going to fail when out on the road.
the car was used this summer (2006) like that, and we grabbed the odd
evening and Sunday out in the cars, but occasionally we would come off
a roundabout at the same time and stamp on the throttle, and it
transpired that Marks Robin Hood had the edge, but not much in it given
the fact he has a 2.0 Pinto and I was a 1.6 zetec.
the one thing that I have certainly found is that kit cars are never
finished…you are always looking at ways of improving them, especially
when being used in competition, so I always thought that a 1.8 would be
a worthwhile transplant. Don’t ask me why I did not do that in the
first place…..but the 1.6 was there at the time and was the right money.
one day on the dangerous place known as Ebay I stumbled across a 1.8
escort XR3i 130 model. It was a K plate, 90k miles and had 12 months
MOT, been relisted due to the fuse box failing at collection and the
guy fixed the problem and tested it to. The bidding commenced and my
limit was £250, getting close to the end it was between me and another
guy, as the auction ended when I was at work I punched in a last resort
bid of £300.26.
When the auction was
checked, I had won the car, and upon checking the bid history the other
bidder had bid £300 flat so I got it buy the narrowest of margins.
Arrangements were made for collection, and the other bidder contacted
me to see what I was doing with the car. We established that he wanted
different bits to me, and we agreed prices so he got the wheels, front
bumper and back axel which had the disks on, agreed price £220 so was
well happy with that.
We (the other half
and I) went off to Lincoln to collect it and trailered it back what
with it having no tax or insurance, got her home and parked it in the
garage ready to start the strip down.
had a boys weekend away in Blackpool planned and Phil kindly agreed to
collect the XR3 and ferry it to his works where he was going to remove
the engine for me (kind man he is) So while I was drinking lemonade
(erm……!!!!) Phil was wielding spanners and removed the lump. The car
was by no means a perfect example…it had had its day and did not break
my heart breaking it.
ad was placed on Ebay saying it was being broken for spares, and that
also got rid of some parts, then a second one was done which also got
rid of some more and finally the interior was put on separately and
also sold. Now by this point a vast chunk of the car had been sold,
which was good, but I now had a shell sat on my trailer that I could
not move and rendered the trailer unusable while the Escort was on it,
so probably 6-8 weeks after getting it, and upon our return from
holiday I decided to go and weigh in the shell as I felt that
everything had been sold what could and that I had everything to allow
me to do the change.
The car was picked
up off the trailer by the grab; squashed and thrown onto a heap…….K321
GWR was to be no more. What surprised me was how much I got for the
shell…..it was very close to £50.
I totalled up what I sold from the car it turned out it was about £430.
So was £100 up on buying and collecting….and I had the engine to which
goes for £150 - £175. Brilliant.
engine sat in the garage until I had a suitable window between events
to carry out the change and this time came in November. Mark came round
and the car had its 1.6 engine removed, and the 1.8 was checked, rocker
cover was painted, block painted, timing belt and tensioners were
changed, and everything was cleaned that was going back onto the car.
This work was carried out mostly on evenings, and loved working in the
garage on these dark cold nights, heater on, radio on rather than sat
in front of the TV.
addition I wanted to know that the engine was what it was supposed to
be…i.e. a 130bhp model, tried to find engine number and could not. We
noted down all the markings on the block and Tony the auto sparkie
checked these at work, nothing matched, and I needed to find RQB
stamped somewhere, a bit more looking and we found it right at the top
of the engine, and with a matching engine number too. So it was a 130
Hurdle No 1 appeared at this point
and the spigot bearing was put in. We then went to put the clutch onto
the new engine, and we found that the retaining bolts for the clutch
were at a bigger diameter than the 1.6. The only solution was to remove
the flywheel from the 1.6, we checked the pick up holes in the back
were the same for the crank sensor, and was deemed they were, so on
went the flywheel. It can only be put on one way as the holes are off
centre, as it needs to know when it’s TDC for the spark to happen at
the right time.
The engine bay was
cleaned following the oil pipe blowing off at an autotest, and bits and
pieces were also done to the car that were required, namely the fuel
tank removed to sort the leak that happened when it was above half
full, and changing of the fuel pump and insertion of a pressure
The time came to put the engine
in, and again working late one evening soldiered on to get the engine
into its new home. It went in relatively easy and even the gearbox
spline slid down the shaft and it all bolted up nicely, added the
ancillaries change the oil and filters, put in the ECU, change the
throttle body and then we thought about the air flow meter, looked
inside and it was considerably smaller than the throttle body….bugger.
I had the air box previously but stupidly thrown it away…and not
thought to keep the airflow meter……I was livid with myself, but luckily
a fellow friend is doing the same engine transplant in his Westfield,
and had a spare meter that he did not need, so this was donated to the
At about 10pm one night we were ready for the start-up, key in, fuel
pump starting to buzz, and turn. The engine turned over, and that’s all
for spark. Not there, checked fuel pressure in the rail…none, something
is not right, so called it a night and phoned Tony.
next evening he called round, and we changed the Crank sensor, no
difference, then he thought the flywheel was not on right but showed
him on the other engine that it would only go on one way, that ruled
out that one, so we changed the ECU back over. We knew that the 1.8 was
ok as it was running, but when the 1.6 ECU was put on it sparked and
fuelled but would still not start as they ‘just were not talking to
each other at the right times’
went away and did some research at work and we found that the wiring
looms were different….bugger as the loom was well gone.
I needed to source a loom, and this was proving hard, upon surfing the
dangerous place again I stumbled across some twin 40 Dellorto carbs
with a zetec manifold. Mmmmm thought…..that would be interesting so in
went the bid. They were won at £220, and postage was £10, so now I was
heading down a different route altogether.
Next up was to get the spark, and this was going to be done using a
called Megajolt and appears to becoming more popular amongst kit
owners; this was ordered direct from the supplier in America and
arrived 4 days later. £88 for the unit including shipping then had to
pay VAT and I fee to parcel force, so total was about £120.
up was fitting all this kit, the relevant mounting stuff was purchased
for the carbs, a EDIS unit which was needed to run the megajolt system
(this puts the car in limp home mode if the mega jolt fails which sets
the timing at a constant 10º TDC) and the boys all assembled in my
garage to get the work done, these were myself, Mark (with the robin
hood), Tony (the auto sparkie) and Lee, (Marks boss who is doing the
same engine transplant with his Westfield….and megajolt expert due to
the amazing amount of time spare him and Mark have at work)
carbs were put into place and Tony was thrusted a few sheets of paper
and a silver box along with the EDIS module and left to sort it out.
The electrics were loosely put in place and then the big test came. The
car was turned over…..coughing a bit as fuel made its way through and
then burst into life…albeit on the EDIS module to ensure that worked,
the mark on the bottom pulley was checked with a timing light and when
the engine was revved stayed static, thus a sign that the EDIS was
doing its job.
We then plugged in the
megajolt and could see that the timing was altering and that the
megajolt was doing its stuff, and then a map was uploaded to the system
and the engine note noticeably changed. It was then a case of playing
with the system and getting the wiring all hard wired in ready for a
rolling road session.
The final piece of
the jigsaw was the throttle linkage, one was purchased from ebay, it
arrived and was fitted, however when the carbs were offered up to the
manifold the linkage that linked the carbs together fouled the inlet
manifold, and meaning it was no good, we tried various different ways
of trying to get it to work, thus to no avail.
linkage was then returned to the seller and a different one was
purchased, and when this was offered up to the carbs things looked a
bit more promising, then when the threaded link bar was clipped onto
the balls it was found that it fouled when the throttle was opened,
this was a blow as the car was booked in for rolling roading the next
morning with an event planned for the Sunday.
called the tuners to tell them the state of play, and he said to bring
it down and they would have a look at it, so the car was delivered and
left with them. A phone call came early afternoon, and they too had
been stumped by the linkage and asked me if they could remove the carbs
and give them to a guy to get one fabricated.
car remained with them until one week later, and went to collect it. It
was parked in the car park, and I could not resist a blast up the road,
tail snaking and wheels spinning it seemed it was going to be good fun,
onto the trailer and home.
event was new years eve 2006, and the car was then finally prepped
ready for this event, and sat on the trailer ready for the off.
day came and we arrived at the test site, took the car off the trailer
and opened up the bonnet, all the other competitors were over for a
peak as a new motor always gets interest, and feedback was good, which
always makes a job like this so worth while.
day went well, and I did not even have to open the toolbox. The end of
the event loomed and it looked like a problem free day, and the car
even took a pasting several times round the tests giving various people
a run out.
The results were done and I
had discovered that I had clinched the Durham autotest championship
overall by 3 points, in the car that made its debut in February for its
So that’s this year over
with, the Locust has been in my possession for just over 3 years now
and has changed a lot since I went and collected her. The work does not
stop here though I have more planned, this consists of
Revamp the front suspension to adjustable coilovers and wishbones
Revamp the rear suspension to adjustable coilovers and move the panhard rod, and also rose joint it
Make a new dash board, with instruments that will be some use, a speedo and rev counter may be useful.
lets hope the weather is kind this summer 2007 and get some more miles
under her belt, both competitively and non competitively.
Hope to see you at the shows – I hope to get to a few this year.
Mark Thornton's Locust - Whitby Autotest August 2007